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Thinking of Buying an Email List? Beware: It’s Risky

Oct 16, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

email marketingRemember the adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”? This is certainly the case with buying an email list. Sure, it’s tempting; especially since purchasing a list is much quicker and easier than organically growing or building a list from your existing customers. But it’s also risky, and definitely a case where the too-good-to-be-true concept applies. Let’s take a closer look at the risks associated with buying an email list.

Quantity Doesn’t Mean Quality

One of the primary downsides to purchasing an email list is you can never be sure where the addresses came from. In many instances, automatic scripts, robots or other forms of malicious software are used to gather the email addresses, and list quality suffers as a result. Instead of quality leads, you get emails that no longer exist, or worse yet-spam traps. It’s easy to be lured into buying a large list with a gazillion contacts, but what you really need is a good response rate. This can only be achieved with a list of quality opt-in email addresses.

Consider also that any list worth its salt probably isn’t for sale. People keep the good lists to themselves because they don’t want to see those lists de-valued, which is exactly what happens when too many people gain access. If you’re working with a quality opt-in list, chances are you’ll want to keep it that way. That means hands-off to other users.

It’s Not Really Your List

Even when a company insists the list you’re purchasing is an opt-in list, it doesn’t matter. The people who chose to opt in did so because they wanted to receive emails from that company-not yours. It probably never occurred to them someone else would get their hands on the list. The trouble is, they probably have never heard of you or your company.

Remember it may be easy to buy a list, but it’s impossible to buy someone’s permission to market to them. Without that permission, the list has no value. Bottom line? It’s not your list, those subscribers don’t know you, and you’re nothing but spam in their inbox.

Your Reputation is on the Line

Using a purchased email list increases your chances of being reported as a spammer. This is especially true if multiple vendors have been using the same list and people on the list have been inundated with emails. Your email marketing account will quickly lose credibility, which, in turn, could negatively impact the individuals who actually agreed to receive your emails.

When you purchase a list, there’s no way to determine how frequently emails have gone out to the addresses on the list, where the email addresses originated, or if the addresses have been checked for hard bounces that could generate a flurry of spam complaints. You not only risk the ability to deliver future emails, but you also put the reputation of your IP address and your company on the line. Repairing the damage is never easy-and could take years.

Instead of purchasing an email list, guarantee opted-in, relevant emails by building your own! To learn how, download this free guide today.

Photo Credit: ganderssen1

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